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Dresden: Tuesday, 13 February 1945 Hardcover – 16 Feb 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (16 Feb. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747570787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747570783
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.4 x 5.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 373,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'...a robust defence of the Dresden raids...counters attempts to recast [Germany]...as the second world war's principal victims.' -- Michael Burleigh, Guardian

'Taylor weaves a chilling narrative from eyewitness accounts and...documentary research...His account of the air operation...is quite superb.' -- Allan Mallison, The Times

'Taylor's magnificent...study...surely as close as the English language will get to a definitive, balanced examination of the subject.' -- Roger Hutchinson, Scotsman

About the Author

Frederick Taylor was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School, and read History and Modern Languages at Oxford, and did postgraduate work at Sussex University. He edited and translated The Goebbels Diaries 1939-41.

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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By I. Curry VINE VOICE on 5 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
On the morning of the 13th February the city of Dresden remained the jewel of the German east, the Elbflorenz or Florence on the Elbe. It had weathered the privations of the second world war well, considered immune from bombing by the lack of heavy industry, the distance from the UK and even theories about Churchill's wish to protect a favoured aunt. The culture-loving, proud citizens did not fear the dawning of the 13th, but the number would be catastrophically unlucky for the city. By the 14th the city's impressive buildings, countless artistic treasures and a significant proportion of its populations would lie broken and charred under the ruined wreck of the town centre.
Frederick Taylor has taken the story of that dreadful night, and woven a complex and erudite history around the event. The story of the actual raid has to wait until the middle of the book, as the historian darts around various strands of history to build a thorough base for understanding the context of the raids. He considers the earlier history of the city, debates how it acquired its uniquely cultural and architectural heritage, looks at the history of fire in warfare, the previous destructions of the city, its role in war,the development of bombing as a weapon of civilian terror and the fate of the city's small Jewish population.
This ensures that the ensuing story retains as much balance as is possible for a British historian to deliver. The context is essentially the crimes of the German Reich, set against the undoubted brutality of the attack. Taylor considers whether the raid was necessary, or simply a barbaric example of revenge attacks. The contrast is set by the description of the annihilation of Coventry, and the pummelling of London and other British cities.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Christy2002 on 15 Feb. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is a detailed account of the bombing of Dresden by the RAF and the USAAF on February 13-14th 1945. The attack, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians, has been regarded by many people as the most shameful episode in the Allied prosecution of the war. Others argue that the bombing was justified by the city's critical position close to the eastern front and because of the many Dresden based arms manufacturers. Interviews with survivors of the bombing and the bomber crews themselves are used to create a vivid picture of the events before, during and after the bombing. This book has the same quality as Antony Bevor's brilliant histories "Stalingrad" and "Berlin" and is a valuable re-assessment of one of the most controversial events of World War 2.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 11 April 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a quote from the concluding chapter of Frederick Taylor's excellent, well researched and highly readable account of the events leading upto, the execution of, and the aftermath of the allied bombing raid on Dresden of 13 and 14 February 1945.
Like Taylor, much of my knowledge of the Dresden raid stemmed from Kurt Vonnegut's semi-autobiographical novel "Slaughter House 5", based on his experience of the Dresden raid as an American prisoner of war there. In the introduction to Vonnegut's novel he recounts how for many years he would tell people that he was working on a big book, perhaps multiple volumes, on what happened in Dresden in those twentyfour hours, but nothing ever came. For Vonnegut, he ultimately found that there was "nothing intelligent to say about a massacre" and that the only things left alive were the birds, and all they would say was "po-to-weet".
Vonnegut had experienced the horror of the raid first hand, and his account remains a powerful, intelligent, if subjective testimony to the horror of Dresden, but Vonnegut was not a historian, and it was left to historians to create a more whole picture of the raid from razor fragments such as Vonneguts, and the cutting and blunt papers of the archives, of course.
Considering the events cultural importance on the European consciousness, as the icon of airborne slaughter in the European war, it is surprising that so little has been published on it. David Irving's 'The Destruction of Dresden' was an important book but was undermined by the authors alleged neo-nazi connections and the subsequet absence of a mass market reprint.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. R. James on 7 July 2013
Format: Paperback
An excellent book. Had to read this after visiting such an important cultural city. Whilst there had to make some sense of the "allied atrocity" that was made on such a city. Not that this was thrust upon me by the delightful people of Dresden. But after living in Coventry, this was a city that deserved at least a few days of my touristic wanderings. This book puts things into context. I feel the author has done extensive research, listened to worthy accounts from witnesses, and has assessed this from an historian's perspective. Within the European Union, Britain and Germany are strong allies; as a result understanding each others' history and culture is so important. This book goes a long way in dissecting facts from propaganda and go someway into explaining the whys, hows and most of all the reasons that such destruction of a cultural icon has given rise to so much misunderstanding. In the words of the author:

"None of this is to minimize the appalling reality of such a vast number of dead, so horribly snatched from this life within the space of a few hours, or to forget that most of them were women, children, and the elderly. Wild guesstimates-especially those explained for political gain-neither dignify nor do justice to what must count, by any standards, as one of the most terrible single actions of the Second World War."
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